Most days I don’t know I have Asperger’s.
And the moments I do, spending time thinking about it is less than desirable.
It’s a subject that has become tiring and seems exhausted. It was new and interesting at first. Life is life. … I just want to be. I dive in and out of this blog taking long breaks at a time–it’s too long to spend deep in this world. I come up for air in the life I’ve known for twenty-seven years–one of being normal, one where these shortcomings weren’t known to me, one where these gifts and talents were mine rather than a piece of a diagnosis, and one where I was ignorant to how different the inside of my head is to the rest of the world.
But there is invaluable comfort in knowing. There is refuge and there is ease.
Most of the time, I am given the luxury of living in another world where life is natural and I am “normal.” I’ve been blessed with an extremely stable upbringing.
But… I’ve learned this past year, there are times when I am wrenched down into this life beyond my control. And there can be no way out for quite a while. I apparently have a threshold. An autistic threshold I suppose… Given the right mix of triggers, or one very large extreme, I am indeed very much on the spectrum.
This summer, away from my work and away from those biting realities, I was slowly able to start piecing myself back together. I was beginning to feel more “me” again and what I know of myself.
…But when work crept up again silently smuggling in that other world, I found myself lying on the couch unable to move because I had just been to the eye doctor and there were glasses touching my face. Seriously. I couldn’t function because there was something on my face. Did I mention I wear my own glasses sometimes… to see? And I wear sunglasses all the time in the sun? But I can’t explain how miserable it felt to have my vision obstructed and something blocking my face and pressing on it. The sensory of it affected my whole being and I caved with the white flag of surrender as I moped on the couch canceling all errands and plans.
This isn’t me. This isn’t me. …at least the me I’ve known.
I don’t understand why there are certain areas that I can’t just be tough about, why there are certain areas that affect me so greatly,and why there are certain things that I can’t see or recognize happening but can somehow later affect my ability to make eye contact with the grocery store clerk, tolerate sensory of glasses, and need lower lighting and quiet at home.
These things seem to take over my whole body. The psychological makes sense. Feelings, quirks, processing, those all take place on the emotional level. But what’s weird is the transition to the physical. And I forget. I’m used to the “normal.” It’s usually when I’m in the situation that I realize, ‘Oh wait, I really don’t want to do this. This is far more intrusive than I expected. I need this to end now.’
Eye doctor visits, getting my hair cut, the dentist, are all a very different experience for me when my threshold is lowered. Even pants are a different experience. I went from my cute dresses to all baggy shirts this last year. And I went to changing into pajamas as soon as I got home for a while.
When something alters this threshold, there is a change that happens to my body altogether. I’d never experienced something like this and so long-lasting. I’ve never noticed losing fundamental human skills and being hit by such physical sensitivities.
A student of mine with Asperger’s went through a change in her behavior and personality that took a sad course of months. This girl had recently been through a large, uprooting life change and her therapist had described it as almost “short-circuiting” her brain.
I could see what that meant in this student. I could see her sudden withdrawal and difference in behavior and coping, and I could see that she was not making the same recovering pace as other children do, in fact it seemed to be taking her five times as long. I’ve never seen any of my children so young and at such a resilient and forgetful age, go through such a long spell from one isolated event. It was easy to see how this change could have indeed impacted the “wiring in her brain.” She was a completely different little human after winter break.
But, Einstein over here, despite the blaring similarities and this child actually being the facet of discovering Asperger’s in myself, couldn’t make any connection to my own self in “short-circuiting” too. It’s my too literal side in an expression that I haven’t heard enough. I actually imagine it to be something that it’s not… like a big moment, or a big click, or something more similar to wires actually short-circuiting.
But after a lot of time from first hearing this expression and seeing other connections, I’m beginning to believe that this is what I am seeing with my loss of threshold. It really does seem like something weird happened in my brain and that is how the wires are connecting for a while. I would make a list, but it’d be too long for the words I have left in this article.
The only thing to really say is I’ve short-circuited. And it’s a long recovery back. But the good news… at some point eventually, even if it is long, there is a “back”to return to.
This was written a few months back, just never posted.